A Recipe for Deliciousness Using Fresh Hops: Wet Hopped Pale Ale
Harvest time is here, and hop cones are plentiful on the vine! Wet, fresh hops are a bit of a different beast than commercially-available pellet whole hop cones. Their water content adds to their weight, meaning that more have to be used. Even if they are thoroughly dried, most people don’t have the laboratory access or scientific knowhow to test their hops for alpha or beta acid content. However, you can still take full advantage of your hop harvest bounty.
What follows is a wet-hopped pale ale recipe that was developed in house by our own Steve Kent. This recipe, while fairly simple as far as the grain bill is concerned, is formulated to allow the character of the fresh hops to really shine!
This recipe does utilize a few additions of pellet hops in order to get a baseline bitterness and hop character. You might switch these up to reflect your own fresh hops or preferences, but for the sake of this recipe, we will go with Chinook for bittering and Cascade for aroma, as these are both American “C” hops that grows well in our climate here in Indiana (and we now have locally-produced Chinook and Cascade from Crazy Horse Hops!) The recipe has an 8 ounce addition of fresh hops added at five minutes before the end of the boil, and another added at flameout. You can allow these to sit in the wort for a few minutes and then strain them out with a steel strainer, pressing them to extract hop bitterness and absorbed wort.
Here we go, let’s brew a wet-hopped pale ale!
Wet-Hopped Pale Ale (for final volume of 5.5 gallons)
Estimated F.G. = 1.0.11
Estimated ABV = 5.8%
Estimated bitterness = Around 50ish IBUs
Estimated SRM: 5 – 6
1# Munich Malt
0.5# Crystal 20L Malt
1 oz Indiana Cascade pellet hops added with 20 minutes left in the boil.
8 oz fresh wet hops added with 5 minutes left in the boil.
8 oz fresh wet hops added at flameout.
2 packs (or make an appropriate starter) of Wyeast 1056 American Ale yeast, White Labs WLP 001 California Ale, or 1-2 packs of dry Safale S-05 yeast. For the Mash Hopped Version, 1 pack of Omega OYL402 Cosmic Punch
- Mash at 150-152F for 60 minutes. A mash-out at 168-170F for 15 minutes is recommended, but not necessary. Drain, sparge, and proceed with a 60 minute boil.
- Chill to 66-68F and pitch yeast. Ferment at 66F for two weeks before bottling or kegging.
- A secondary fermentation for one week to improve clarity and reduce sedimentation is optional.
- Extract Version: Replace the Sugar Creek base malt with 6 lbs of light dry malt extract . Steep the specialty grains (Munich and crystal 20L) at 150-155F for 30 minutes using a muslin grain bag. Remove the bag, allowing the grains to drain into the boil kettle. Turn off the flame and dissolve the extract in the kettle. Turn the flame back on, bring to a boil and proceed as above. NOTE: as the extract version is slightly different than the all-grain, you may have a slightly different starting gravity at the beginning of fermentation.
- Mash Hop Version: Former employee Brady Smith (who has been growing hops for nearly 15 years) suggests adding some fresh hops directly into the mash. If you would like to do this, you can take 2 oz off each of the last additions and add those to the mash for a nice extra-smooth bittering note in the beer. As we often say around here, this is your playground, have fun with it!
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